A high school valedictorian who went on to attend the University of Massachusetts Boston is now being charged with stealing US$ 2 million (£1.5 million) in cryptocurrency by hacking cell phones.
Authorities accused 20-year-old Joel Ortiz of developing an elaborate scheme to take over victim's cell phones to access online accounts containing electronic assets in the form of Bitcoin, Coinbase, Bittrex and Binance, the criminal complaint said according to the New York Post.
In one instance, Oritz allegedly impersonated one of his victims at an AT&T store to request a new SIM card in order to take control of a victim's phone to steal financial and personal identifying information (PII), tax returns, private passwords" and siphoned US$ 10,000 (£7,671) from a cryptocurrency account, according to police reports obtained by the publication.
Oritz allegedly had more than 20 victims in California alone and additional victims in other states.
Ortiz is facing more than two dozen charges including grand theft, identity theft, and computer hacking, and is being held on US$ 1 million (£766,959) bail.